- When I spent a year teaching 6-8 grade students in Detroit,
Michigan, I had hoped that with my high ideals, I could influence the children
to become thinking citizens, perhaps even sway them towards a Godly life.
But I found a tragic situation. American children of today are seriously
brain damaged from computer games, TV, movies and pop music.
- They have an attention span no longer than a commercial
and if something is not flashing lights and making bleeping noises they
have no interest in it. They have a huge problem translating their thoughts
into written words and they have a hard time sitting still. They really
require-and want-adults to manage their behaviour.
- Concerning sex education, it was painfully clear that
there was nothing I could do for these kids, except maybe an occasional
isolated miracle. How do you convince a girl not to date boys when her
own mother goes out on dates? You and I know that she is too young to think
about such things, but the fact is, by 6th grade these children's minds
are set into the pattern created by the mass media. It made me realise
that you really have to focus on protecting your kids from a very young
age and arm them with knowledge.
- The religious kids, if they are going to stay clean and
innocent, they have to have made that choice well before 6th grade. Parents
need to realise that the kids are going to learn everything about the facts
of life-if not from school then from the songs playing in the supermarket-so
we have to protect them.
- We have to tell them that they are persons of value who
deserve to be respected and cherished and to enjoy happy and healthy relationships.
Many children never hear these words from their parents so they seek affection
and positive encouragement elsewhere.
- Most kids chase boyfriends or girlfriends because the
media tells them this is how you find happiness. Parents really need to
walk the middle line
- between saying too much and not saying enough.
- Young kids don't need the "details" of how
babies are made but they do need to be told at a young age, for example,
which parts of their body are off limits, even to family members, and the
child should be made to promise to report any violations even if done in
- Since they are giggling about boys as early as first
grade, girls need to be advised well in advance that their lives will be
miserable if they fall in love with boys before they are old enough to
- get married.
- They need to know the rules of clothing. They need to
be instructed never to be alone in a room with a boy. Their brother should
go with them if they are visiting the friends or cousins in the neighbourhood.
You really can't be under-prepared.
- Our children should be made to understand why physical
proximity to the opposite gender and sex before marriage is out of the
question. If they have not gotten any good advice by age eleven, he or
she may easily get lost. Whatever you tell your kids, it has to make sense
within the context of the way that their peers explain the world.
- American children have enough knowledge about how babies
are made and how to prevent them, but they are very protected from knowing
how babies come out.
- I believe that in families where the mother gives birth
at home and the children are there to emotionally support her and know
what women go through, these children will probably have a healthier attitude
and reverence for their bodies and for life itself and will be less likely
to make light-hearted decisions.
- Even many religious men, who were chaste until marriage,
still lack the appropriate respect and reverence for the extreme sacrifice
that a woman makes when she obeys her husband.
- The good news is that there seem to be more and more
kids in high schools and colleges that choose to be chaste and who give
each other moral support, and I have to assume it's because their parents
talked to them about when sex is appropriate.
- Looking at online teen discussions it seems clear that
there is a group of kids who have zero self esteem and are actively striving
to crash their lives because they have no guidance other than the desire
to be "cool" - while there is another group of kids who are actively
striving to be responsible.
- When I was a kid there were no kids striving to be responsible
- of chastity.
- If anyone was religiously motivated they would be treated
like a mentally ill person and no one would be
- their friend.
- America is becoming better in many ways. At least, there
are better choices available. As parents we have to make sure our children
are aware of the choices we hope our kids will make, to balance the information
they are getting from society about the choices that corporate military
consumer culture hopes they make.
- Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based writer on Middle East
affairs and US politics. She is Director of the Division on Muslim Civil
Rights and Liberties for the National Association of Muslim American Women.
Joachim Martillo contributed to this article